How Practicing Body Gratitude Changed My Life 

FEATURED COLUMNISTS Curvicality Plus Size Magazine
What would it take for you to be grateful for your body? For me, I had to almost lose my life.

I had heard plenty of people preach the need to practice gratitude to improve your life. I scoured dozens and dozens of articles and Instagram posts about it, but I just didn’t believe it. In fact, I remember reading one piece and thinking: “You mean to tell me writing down three things I’m grateful for in any given day is going totally transform my life?”  

I just didn’t believe it. Besides, I didn’t have time to add one more thing to my to-do list.  

A Life-Threatening Experience

My skepticism turned to belief after I went through a life-threatening medical experience when my first baby was just 3 months old. 

I was a 28-year-old new mom at the time, trying to find a way to get out from under the crushing body hatred I had been experiencing for as long as I could remember. I was trying to make peace with my body that was at the largest size I’d ever been, while at the same time making sure I was healthy for my new baby boy. 

It started one night as I was sitting on the couch in the dark holding that new baby, anxious tears streaming down my face as I replayed my medical experience and thought about how close I’d come to leaving that tiny little miracle behind. If I focused on his sweet face and his little snores, my anxious thoughts would subside … and at that moment it hit me: I made him. My body grew that little boy inside me and birthed all 9 pounds of him into the world with no drugs. 

No matter how many times I thought my body had failed me in the past, no matter how much I hated all the fat and stretch marks, I couldn’t deny how incredible it was that I had literally grown another human being. And just like all the research said it would, focusing on those grateful thoughts helped keep my anxious ones away. 

Paige Fieldsted - Your Story -Curvicality Magazine


How My Gratitude Began

I didn’t — and still haven’t — written down a giant list of all the things about my body that I’m grateful for, but I did start to remind myself of those things when I was feeling particularly low. When I would stand in front of the mirror and want to cry because I hated everything I saw, I would remind myself of all the amazing things my body had done for me that day — all the memories I had created in this body and all the dreams it had allowed me to pursue. 

This body ran a freaking marathon, grew and birthed two 9-pound babies and has walked me all over lots of cool places. This body has supported me through writing three books, playing lots of high school athletics and being a mom every single day for the last four years. 

Even when it seems like my body is failing me, when I can’t lose the baby weight or my Achilles tendonitis returns, my heart is still beating, my lungs are still taking in air and my body is doing all the things it has to do on a daily basis to keep me alive. Isn’t that amazing? Without us even having to think about it, our bodies are constantly working to keep us alive. 

Body gratitude has allowed me to see my body in a whole new light. Yes, there are days I still stand in front of the mirror and hate what I see. There are still days where I complain loudly about all my ailments, but being grateful for my body has allowed me to offer myself a grace that was never there before. 

It’s not always easy. Choosing to be positive when it would be so much easier to be negative is hard, and it’s a choice I have to make every single day. 

But it has changed my life in ways I never thought possible. I’m no longer sitting on the sidelines waiting for a magic weight to make it OK for me to live my life. I do the things I want to do and wear the clothes I want to wear and I pursue my passions now, because life isn’t waiting for me to be a certain jean size. 

Even though I hated it for years and years, this body has allowed me to see and do so many amazing things and to make memories I’ll never forget with the people I cherish the most. And for that, I will always be grateful.

About the Author: Paige Fieldsted is the author of the highly acclaimed book Confessions from Your Fat Friend. She is also a blogger and body positivity advocate who believes all women deserve to love and appreciate the body they are in right now, and that people of all shapes and sizes are worthy of love and respect. Paige lives in Utah with her husband John, sons Mason and Logan, and Willy the pug. When she’s not writing, you can find Paige dancing and singing in the kitchen with her boys, doing yoga, hanging out with family or reading. Learn more about Paige here. 

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